The National release of the Big Tobacco Tiny Targets study took place in the event held at the Constitution Club, New Delhi on 16th January 2019.
The event witnessed participation from World Health Organisation (WHO), MoHFW, Vital Strategies, PHFI, Indian Cancer Society, The Union, CTFK India Team, Sambandh Foundation Voice of Tobacco Victims( VOTV), 20 Students from 6 Delhi Schools and Teachers, All India Parents Association, Govt School Teachers Association for Delhi, Nursery Admissions Forum, Child line Foundation, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Govt. of NCT of Delhi.
The event started with the technical presentation of the findings of the study jointly by Mr.Ashim Sanyal, COO, Voluantry Organization In Interest of Consumer Education and Ms.Bhavana ,COO, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI). The presentation detailed out the findings of Tiny Target report findings along with the recommendations.
Shri Vijay Goel, Hon'ble Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs & Statistics and Programme Implementation spoke about the ill-effects of tobacco use amongst children. He believes that tobacco control is a big task despite government support as tobacco companies are powerful. He said that such good initiatives should develop into a mass movement /campaign to address. He also offered his support for the campaign.
Professor M.V. Rajeev Gowda, Hon'ble Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, narrated his journey of tobacco use and how in India one has come a long way banning smoking in public places but still lot needs to be done to protect youth from tobacco use. He also spoke about the tobacco industry tactics which are seen globally and warned that students are easy targets. He engaged with the students and audience very well.
Students from Bluebells School International, New Delhi spoke about the aggressive marketing tactics being used by tobacco companies especially targeting young children and young adults and how important it is for schools to generate awareness about the harmful use of tobacco. They also spoke about the peer pressure, vaping, Jules, Hookahs and the role of social media. They requested the dignitaries on the dais and other members of the gathering to protect them and the future generations from the ill-effects of tobacco and the aggressive promotions of tobacco industry.
A photo-op was done very imaginatively with school children holding placards, wearing t-shirts and badges.
Dr Pawan Gupta, Surgical Oncologist at Max Hospitals warned the audience that tobacco use harms the body in one or the other way even if it doesn't lead to cancer. Tobacco victim, Mr. Gaurav Bhatura who underwent a recent surgery and is a cancer survivor spoke about the harmful effects of smoking and that it is not ‘cool’ to smoke.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, National President of All India Parents Association and Shri C.P. Singh, President, Govt School Teachers Association both highlighted the challenges regarding law enforcement, both inside and outside schools. They laid stress on the fact that far more stringent policies and measures are needed to curb this menace.
Ms Rita Singh, Member, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights highlighted the campaigns run by the Delhi Govt for other addictive substances and shared that similar campaigns for tobacco products need to be initiated and requested all stakeholders to inform the Government of violations on the 1098 helpline as well.
Around 25 representatives were present from different Media houses, both electronic and print. Media gave very good coverage to the event and supported the cause There was wide range of appreciation received from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, WHO and Civil Society.